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Susan Wise Bauer

Moderation Suggestions?

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I want to write about why anonymous moderating makes me uncomfortable.

 

As much time and energy as I have invested in this community, I feel patronized that I don't know who the moderators are, how they get chosen, what "training" they have. I have been here 14ish years. I would prefer to know if my moderators are also community members. If they are community members, which ones? If not, now are moderators chosen and how is the history and culture of this board communicated to them. To be frank, I feel like there is a lurking distant adult relative and I am a young teen. I feel like that lurking adult is moody, unpredictable, and above the rules they claim to enforce.

 

Lately, I've noticed moderator tolerance for discord is low. I personally have a high tolerance for forum discord, but even with that in mind, I feel like threads and posts have been moderated with a heavy hand.

 

 

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I agree that those who misuse reporting (like the Duggar reporter) should be penalized somehow.  If I don't like the direction a thread is taking, I just leave the thread.  I would think any adult is capable of doing that.

 

Clearly state the valid reasons for reporting.  Enforce them and identify which is being violated when something is moderated.  Take action for those reporting frivolously.

 

And thank you very much for this board.  I for one, do not want to see the topics limited.  I enjoy the (usually) well-reasoned and respectful debate.  It helps to broaden my viewpoint and better understand other viewpoints.  That is too valuable to sacrifice for some who don't like their sensibilities offended or challenged, and somehow don't realize they are free to leave the thread.

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...snip...

OR make it visible like the likes. Soandso reported this post lets us know... stuff.

 

As a middle ground, perhaps a post could just display a notice: "This post has been reported". If it is spam or a blatent violation of board rules, then everyone knows it is being taken care of. If, OTOH, some members think it was reported groundlessly, then they have an opportunity to PM a moderator with their point of view before posts just start disappearing.

 

Wendy

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Most importantly, I love this board.  I very much appreciate what it has done for my homeschooling and my life in general.  I have made real friends here.

 

However, I think the moderating here leaves much to be desired.  This board is probably one of the nicest boards ever despite the moderating, not because of it.  The posters here are highly invested in not only education but community and that's why its so pleasant here.  

 

It would be a huge improvement if there was less mystery involved in moderating.  I don't like that we don't know anything about who is moderating.  I agree with all of Joanne's points about this.  Please, at minimum, let's have more communication when action is taken.  I've had posts removed before with no explanation, in threads with insults hurled left & right that remain untouched.  I've PM'ed mods, asking for clarification and received no response.  It's very difficult to accept that in a community with this level of camaraderie, there's this great unknown looking on from afar, sticking it's nose in at random times.  Its unsettling.

 

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The playground tattling is what really gets me. I thought we were grown-ups. Unless it's spam or porn, a "reporter" should be punished for reporting, IMO. Actually, I'd prefer the report button to disappear completely. All reports should be made through a pm to moderator with a link to offending (spam) post. It requires more effort so would cut down on ridiculous tattle-tales quite a bit. OR make it visible like the likes. Soandso reported this post lets us know... stuff.

 

I find myself feeling rather feisty in my opinions and repeatedly deleting, so best move on from this thread now.

I think the bolded might help. If posters know the thread has been reported, the mods won't get inundated with multiple reports. I'm never sure if I should report spam or if I'll just be annoying the mod with multiple reports. Is the convention to always reply with a "reported" message? So if I see spam with no replies, it hasn't been reported? Probably not in the software, but it would be cool if the report button just greyed out after the post had been reported once.

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IME in moderating a largish, active forum and having been a regular member of countless forums over the years, a blanket prohibition on discussing the boards isn't beneficial.  On the contrary.  As with almost all relationships in real life, not having regular open, honest conversation tends to lead or at least contribute to big blow-ups (such as this one).  That doesn't mean it has to be a wide-open, free for all either.  Again IME, a regularly scheduled thread started by an admin or mod is all it would take.  A quarterly or semi-annual "how are we doing/give us your feedback" thread would be my suggestion.  It would allow members to publicly provide feedback and discuss any issues they've noticed, which can be very beneficial in the long run.  It prevents small issues from festering.  It allows members to be "heard" publicly.  And I think knowing that they've been "heard" is what many people really need, even if the powers that be ultimately decide the grievance/issue isn't one that needs dealing with.  Yes, of course members can PM admins and mods.  But IME that doesn't give members the satisfaction of knowing they've truly been "heard."  I find it particularly ironic that a board centered around classical education prohibits public discussion.

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Probably not in the software, but it would be cool if the report button just greyed out after the post had been reported once.

I've been told whenever the power goes out in my house. AND block, each neighbor should call the power company. What I've been told -- which makes no sense to me-- is that more people calling somehow means they will take it seriously, as if a few calls in a populated area known to have many residents just doesn't count for much. I wondered if a rash of reported posts has the same effect, and is meant to be some sort of graphical representation of a post's offensiveness level.

 

I confess to have reported a few posts in my time besides obvious spam. Some people are just shockingly offensive and refuse to stop.

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After reading the thread about Wendy leaving here is my suggestion.

 

Private, closed, secret, social groups should be done away with. It just breeds disharmony and suspicion.

 

When social groups were first introduced I thought it was for things like weight loss support, running groups....groups that focused on one topic and therefore others not interested would not have to wade through those posts on the chat forum. If the secret and closed and private options were done away with people might stop posting highly sensitive, inflammatory, controversial etc content in them.

 

I remember when one of my posts was quoted and put in a secret group...I got a notification on it but couldn't click on the post or thread where it went...except I could see the group name. It was unsettling.

 

So that is my suggestion. No more secret social groups and all rules still apply to the groups and they can and will be moderated.

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After reading the thread about Wendy leaving here is my suggestion.

 

Private, closed, secret, social groups should be done away with. It just breeds disharmony and suspicion. .

What?

 

The social groups allow like minded people to further discuss issues, personal and otherwise.

 

How is the Orthodoxy group breeding disharmony and suspicion by privately discussion their faith, concerns and related possibly personal issues?

 

Or a weight loss group that is private so individuals can discuss personal success and failures in a more detailed manner?

 

I think the social groups were a great addition. We all need space to talk about things important to us. For many, face to face options are not available.

 

I have never felt suspicious towards another groups content. Curious sure, but not in any negative fashion.

 

I am unhappy with the current situation, but I think it would be a great loss to this community to simply do away with the groups.

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I do think a report button is helpful. I think the only post I've reported was a white supremacist post. It was so patently offensive that I'm sure I wasn't the only one who did so. However, of late the majority of threads I've seen locked or deleted have not risen to near that level. I, like others, have had the rather disconcerting experience of enjoying a thread, leaving, then coming back to find it either deleted or locked with an unnecessarily sarcastic comment as to why.

 

When threads have been merely locked I've read through them and been confused as to why it was locked. Maybe I just have extremely thick skin, but nothing in the thread(s) broke the board's rules and I simply couldn't see anything which warranted the thread(s) being shut down.

 

My point is that there really does seem to be uneven moderating. Obviously, I don't know whether it's due to different moderators with differing, unpublished standards, number of times a post/thread has been reported by someone whether or not the report was legitimate v. said someone exercising her pique, or whether it's because Mercury was in retrograde to Jupiter.

 

And, if a moderator went into a private social group over a couple of days and deleted posts because of whatever reason, then *that* is absolutely unacceptable. And the reason really doesn't matter. Truly, when I've seen posts which have appeared from a SG on one of the public boards it has been very obvious that the thread or post was not part of the regular board, assuming one is on a laptop/desktop/tablet.

 

Suggestions from me would include (1) very clear guidelines addressed to both the moderators and the users about why, when, and how a thread will be locked/deleted; (2) strict adherence to said guidelines without favor; (3) warning posts from a moderator (and I realize this does happen, but again not consistently) prior to shutting down a thread; (4) a recognition on the part of the moderators that the fact that a post or thread has been reported, perhaps even multiple times, does not in any way indicate that anyone participating in the thread violated board rules; (5) track (even internally) who reports posts/threads, for what reason(s), and how often -- those people with a clear track record of "false reporting" should have consequences (with today's technology this simply can't be that hard); and (6) if a post/thread has been reported, grey out the report-thingy or otherwise have a visible flag indicating that someone has already reported it. I think part of what happens is moderators are unexpectedly hit with multiple reports of a post/thread and, in an effort to handle the (perceived) issue expeditiously, react rather than respond. And I truly don't mean that in a negative way. I can only imagine that the moderators have a difficult job moderating the chat board, especially, because it moves so very fast.

 

I also think that the moderators shouldn't be so anonymous; we should see that Moderator Joe locked this thread or Moderator Jane deleted these posts and a reason should be included minus the snark (i.e., post in violation of rule 2 or something). It builds in a level of accountability for both the mods and the posters. They don't have to use their real names. Also, in the rules there is a section about putting on one's big girl drawers [obviously a paraphrase here :) ]; therefore, when someone reports post/thread because she doesn't like or agree with the content, the mods should remind her that she is an adult and thus should behave like one. (Yes, I realize that kids sometimes read these boards. I think that issue is best left to the parents to deal with and getting upset because one's child read something written between adults is the parent's problem, not the moderators'.)

 

Susan, although I am not a prolific poster, I have been on the boards since their original debut. I have learned so much from the differing experiences of posters, both on the chat board and the various ed boards. I am immensely grateful for these boards and your willingness to host them free of charge to us, the end users. I have never complained about the rules even when I didn't/don't agree with them (see previous sentence for why) and I thank you for allowing us to give voice to our thoughts about how the boards can improve. My experience as a health care provider and a field training officer has led me to the conclusion that giving someone ownership of an idea or issue ultimately leads to much better buy-in and results. Allowing us to have input on the moderation of the boards is a really good idea. I do not want these boards to go away. My kids' educations are much richer because of these boards. I actually have other thoughts; but, I've finished my shift and am clocking out. I do hope you take these comments in the spirit in which they are intended. Thank you for your efforts!

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What?

 

The social groups allow like minded people to further discuss issues, personal and otherwise.

 

How is the Orthodoxy group breeding disharmony and suspicion by privately discussion their faith, concerns and related possibly personal issues?

 

Or a weight loss group that is private so individuals can discuss personal success and failures in a more detailed manner?

 

I think the social groups were a great addition. We all need space to talk about things important to us. For many, face to face options are not available.

 

I have never felt suspicious towards another groups content. Curious sure, but not in any negative fashion.

 

I am unhappy with the current situation, but I think it would be a great loss to this community to simply do away with the groups.

Well we can disagree on this. I don't see why the secrecy. If it is that secret and private take it to pms or a board fully dedicated to such privacy.

 

And I was more than curious when when of my quotes was taken and used on a secret board. Unsettled. I began feeling uneasy about the person who quoted me ....I just don't think it is a good atmosphere.

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I agree that reporting should be made public. That would cut down on childish reporting. One would hope. 

 

As for private social groups it seems a lot of members take part in them. I don't think they cause any disharmony or suspicion. Perhaps that is because I do not care what goes on in private groups. Being quoted in a private group, but not being able to see it, does not bother me in the least. I just do not have any interest in what others may or may not say about me. I have no interest in say the Orthodox group (to stay with Pinky's example) and what is discussed there. It has no relevance for me. I'm very happy they have a place where they can post about things from their religious viewpoint, and it's not part of the main board. It leaves the main board free for other things that I might be interested in.

 

 

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What?

 

The social groups allow like minded people to further discuss issues, personal and otherwise.

 

How is the Orthodoxy group breeding disharmony and suspicion by privately discussion their faith, concerns and related possibly personal issues?

 

Or a weight loss group that is private so individuals can discuss personal success and failures in a more detailed manner?

 

I think the social groups were a great addition. We all need space to talk about things important to us. For many, face to face options are not available.

 

I have never felt suspicious towards another groups content. Curious sure, but not in any negative fashion.

 

I am unhappy with the current situation, but I think it would be a great loss to this community to simply do away with the groups.

Social groups should be open to reading to anyone....if you want to post you have to join. And if you want to report you have to join.

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I agree that reporting should be made public. That would cut down on childish reporting. One would hope.

 

As for private social groups it seems a lot of members take part in them. I don't think they cause any disharmony or suspicion. Perhaps that is because I do not care what goes on in private groups. Being quoted in a private group, but not being able to see it, does not bother me in the least. I just do not have any interest in what others may or may not say about me. I have no interest in say the Orthodox group (to stay with Pinky's example) and what is discussed there. It has no relevance for me. I'm very happy they have a place where they can post about things from their religious viewpoint, and it's not part of the main board. It leaves the main board free for other things that I might be interested in.

I agree with reporting being public. Or if it is too traumatic it should at least have to go into an email to a mod...takes a little more effort and might cut down on knee Jer (duggar) reporting.

 

 

I think it is great people can have a group dedicated to their interests. But the secret part needs to go IMO. I can SAY to myself oh I don't care what they think of me....but when it happens it is disconcerting...wondering what is being said.

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I tend to agree that secret, private, unmoderated social groups invite suspicion and disharmony.

 

I could see it if the topic was about a medical or psychological condition that affects education / homeschooling, but about personal preferences etc. I don't understand why SWB is obligated to provide a private, unmoderated forum for that.  Surely there are other places to take those conversations without taking anything away from the discussions about education, homeschooling, etc.

 

And by the way, I've been told that certain groups have discussed me in unflattering ways on groups / forums that I do not participate in.  I doubt I am the only one.  Yes, I am bigger than that, but again, why is SWB obligated to support that?  I personally do not feel it adds anything to any community to be able to freely deride or defame people who have no opportunity to provide their side.  Considering that one respected, prolific member here publicly stated on the Chat board that I don't like men (which was untrue and not kindly meant), I have sincere doubts that all the talk on the private groups is kind and mature.  None of my business, probably, but then again nobody is screaming at me for not providing good enough free web accommodations.

 

For every person complaining about not being able to freely post whatever they want on the private social groups, I'm sure there is another person who doesn't like being vulnerable to secret attacks in such groups.  And please don't say that does not happen because I don't believe it.

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Well we can disagree on this. I don't see why the secrecy. If it is that secret and private take it to pms or a board fully dedicated to such privacy.

 

And I was more than curious when when of my quotes was taken and used on a secret board. Unsettled. I began feeling uneasy about the person who quoted me ....I just don't think it is a good atmosphere.

 

May I suggest a book on stoicism? Your life will be much more enjoyable if you don't allow others to make you feel uneasy. I'm not being snarky here. It's something I'm teaching my kids as well. It truly does not matter what others may or may not think about you. Unless that person is paying your salary.  

 

Also, I don't think it is SWB's or the moderators job to make sure you don't feel uneasy. 

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I could see it if the topic was about a medical or psychological condition, but about personal preferences etc. I don't understand why SWB is obligated to provide a private, unmoderated forum for that.  Surely there are other places to take those conversations without taking anything away from the discussions about education, homeschooling, etc.

 

She isn't obligated to do anything. She provides the board with good will. 

 

How do you know medical and psychological conditions aren't discussed in private groups? And because for most people medical and psychological conditions relate to their beliefs, they go hand in hand. 

 

I'm just having a hard time understanding why this is so upsetting to some people? Ask yourself if it will make any difference in your life whether you can read posts in social groups or not. The answer is no, it will not. 

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Also, I don't think it is SWB's or the moderators job to make sure you don't feel uneasy. 

 

I think it is up to SWB to choose how she wants to prioritize the comfort of all members vs. the freedoms of private groups.  It is not her job but it is her right.  I don't allow certain things in my house because that is not the kind of environment I want for my family and my guests.

 

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I tend to agree that secret, private, unmoderated social groups invite suspicion and disharmony.

 

I could see it if the topic was about a medical or psychological condition, but about personal preferences etc. I don't understand why SWB is obligated to provide a private, unmoderated forum for that. Surely there are other places to take those conversations without taking anything away from the discussions about education, homeschooling, etc.

 

She's not obligated to.

 

But she did provide them.

 

And many people have taken part In and enjoyed them, both in public and private groups.

 

With the understanding they were unmoderated areas, and that the privacy settings were available.

 

Said groups could be fully deleted and removed now. There is no obligation.

 

But they do add to the boards.

 

 

As for going elsewhere, many already have. So you get your wish. But I think it's a sad thing.

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May I suggest a book on stoicism? Your life will be much more enjoyable if you don't allow others to make you feel uneasy. I'm not being snarky here. It's something I'm teaching my kids as well. It truly does not matter what others may or may not think about you. Unless that person is paying your salary.

 

Also, I don't think it is SWB's or the moderators job to make sure you don't feel uneasy.

It isn't SWBs job to provide secret social groups either.

 

As far as me caring about what others think of me? I don't. I have been part of a non mainstream world my entire life and so I am quite accustomed to just doing my own thing. Others may not have such tough skin. In fact I KNOW many here are very sensitive. So if the secret groups give me pause, unsettle me even briefly I think it is worth considering that many many others might be deeply affected.

 

And whether or not we should care what others think of us those type of secret closed groups do breed disharmony and suspicion. I don't think SBW has that as her intent for her board.

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After reading the thread about Wendy leaving here is my suggestion.

 

Private, closed, secret, social groups should be done away with. It just breeds disharmony and suspicion.

 

When social groups were first introduced I thought it was for things like weight loss support, running groups....groups that focused on one topic and therefore others not interested would not have to wade through those posts on the chat forum. If the secret and closed and private options were done away with people might stop posting highly sensitive, inflammatory, controversial etc content in them.

 

I remember when one of my posts was quoted and put in a secret group...I got a notification on it but couldn't click on the post or thread where it went...except I could see the group name. It was unsettling.

 

So that is my suggestion. No more secret social groups and all rules still apply to the groups and they can and will be moderated.

Was that my by chance? When I am on a computer i have several open tabs and I multiquote different postersand sometimes I forget that I have a multi quote open in one window when I reply in another and accidentally Quote the wrong person. This happens more than I care to admit do to limited time at a computer.

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I'm just having a hard time understanding why this is so upsetting to some people? Ask yourself if it will make any difference in your life whether you can read posts in social groups or not. The answer is no, it will not. 

 

OK but ask yourself whether it will make any difference in your life whether you can post your personal secret discussions on SWB's site vs. somewhere else.

 

FTR I have never had any desire to read posts in the private social groups.  In fact, I used to be a member of a couple of [uncontroversial] social groups, but I quit them a while ago because I do not need that.  I don't want to read that stuff but at the same time, I do believe that allowing people free reign to say anything about anybody else in the WTM community without any accountability is not healthy, and it feeds into the general chat atmosphere.

 

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I see private groups as a big PM. And, yes, I can tell you that I have gotten PMs from members, who do not share my worldview, and told me how they feel about me and how they feel my children will turn out as adults under my influence. Such is their opinion. I simply delete and move on with my life. That is worse than anything possibly said about me in a private group I cannot read. 

 

Don't get so wrapped up in others opinions or comments. 

 

Back to moderating: public reporting, clear guidelines, reason stated for deletion or locking. 

 

 

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Was that my by chance? When I am on a computer i have several open tabs and I multiquote different postersand sometimes I forget that I have a multi quote open in one window when I reply in another and accidentally Quote the wrong person. This happens more than I care to admit do to limited time at a computer.

 

I don't think they were mistakes. I was also one who was quoted for the closed group but couldn't view what was said. It didn't bother me (much) but I do remember there was a thread about it and some members of the closed group said they would quote in the future in a way that wouldn't notify us we were being quoted so we wouldn't know anymore.

 

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I see private groups as a big PM. And, yes, I can tell you that I have gotten PMs from members, who do not share my worldview, and told me how they feel about me and how they feel my children will turn out as adults under my influence. Such is their opinion. I simply delete and move on with my life. That is worse than anything possibly said about me in a private group I cannot read.

 

Don't get so wrapped up in others opinions or comments.

 

Back to moderating: public reporting, clear guidelines, reason stated for deletion or locking.

I am not so wrapped up in others opinions. Trust me I am fully aware of how some feel about me. But we are all part of this community and if we want harmony there needs to be less division especially of the secret kind.

 

And a pm sent directly to you about you is entirely different than a secret group quoted us from the general board.

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Was that my by chance? When I am on a computer i have several open tabs and I multiquote different postersand sometimes I forget that I have a multi quote open in one window when I reply in another and accidentally Quote the wrong person. This happens more than I care to admit do to limited time at a computer.

I do not now remember. I have a little trick of being able to forget who is nasty to me on boards and who is not. After 15 years on line I can only name a few who I remember exactly what they said about me.

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Let me preface this by saying hugs to any who are unhappy at the idea of private SGs.  I agree that I would rather have harmony than division.  I would like to add my own view on the private SGs though...

 

I was on this board for quite a while before being invited to a private SG.  When I found out they existed, I was a bit surprised.  I didn't know that such a thing was around.  I wasn't insulted that I had never been invited before, though, nor was I afraid the private SGs were a bunch of gossips talking negatively about other board members.  I assumed that they were having private discussions about specific topics with people who also had interest in those specific topics.  And at least for the ones I am part of, that is exactly what they are.  I was invited because I had specifically posted about a particular topic or issue and they thought I might want to pursue it further or that I might want some support or could offer support or add to a discussion.  

 

I am now part of some private social groups.  We are not being snarky to anyone or secretly discussing anyone else's business or maliciously gossiping at all.  But we are discussing things that are very personal regarding our child or ourselves or we are discussing a topic that unfortunately tends to derail quickly on the public chat boards, etc.  I am grateful for those private chat rooms.  I have learned so much and been given wonderful information/support or some really interesting topics to pursue, but I would not have felt comfortable having those discussions where they could be searched by random strangers off the internet.  If it happens, so be it, but I would rather that they weren't.

 

If SWB decided to get rid of the private SGs I would be sad but she has that right.  I do enjoy having them, though, and I honestly don't feel stressed over the fact that there are apparently many private social groups that I do not have access to.  I honestly think it is great to have the option for a more private conversation with people I might not every have "met" if the WTM didn't exist and am glad that others have had that opportunity, too.  Of the private SGs I know exist that I am not a part of, none of the others so far seem to be something I could add to or get much out of.  But it is something that others do so I am glad they have them.  

 

FWIW, PMs fill up my allowable PM space.  And sometimes I really want to refer back to older SG threads so I don't want to delete.  And with PMs you can't have a discussion with 10-20 people at once.  

 

I AM sorry that some people were quoted in a thread that they can't see since that could make someone wonder what was happening and I do agree that if a private SG group were deliberately plotting and planning ways to maliciously undermine other posters on the public threads that a thread like that should probably be moderated or shut down.  This isn't middle school.  Malicious, planned, deliberate attacks shouldn't even be happening.  But I am betting 99% of the private SGs never ever even go there.  And idle gossip?  Meh, doesn't bug me if it is happening. People can say whatever about me.  Just don't deliberately target my threads out of spite and pettiness (thankfully this has never happened to me, but I know a couple of people who feel they did experience this).

 

And in case anyone cares, you can start your own social group.  If you feel you have a topic that is very specific and you want to discuss it in more depth with others who might have that same interest, go ahead and start one.  

 

Best wishes to all.

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Well we can disagree on this. I don't see why the secrecy. If it is that secret and private take it to pms or a board fully dedicated to such privacy.

 

And I was more than curious when when of my quotes was taken and used on a secret board. Unsettled. I began feeling uneasy about the person who quoted me ....I just don't think it is a good atmosphere.

While of course nothing is 100% secret on the internet, if you wanted feedback on your kids' test scores where it wasn't Google-able for the future that might affect your children, you would have a safer place to ask in a private SG.  If you have diarrhea and don't necessarily want your Aunt Jane to bring it up on Thanksgiving but need some advice, a SG is safe for you. If you have a conflict of your religious beliefs that you don't want to discuss with your pastor before you explore it, you can look to a SG for more private advice. If you don't want private SGs, then don't partake.  But many people use them. 

 

I don't think they were mistakes. I was also one who was quoted for the closed group but couldn't view what was said. It didn't bother me (much) but I do remember there was a thread about it and some members of the closed group said they would quote in the future in a way that wouldn't notify us we were being quoted so we wouldn't know anymore.

 

I am sorry that happened to you.  FWIW I have accidentally quoted people even in my own private group to outside threads on accident and only noticed when the quote owner PMd me.  Terrible mistake that I'm very sorry for.  Apparently the quote function can be glitchy sometimes.  We had a very strict rule against quoting in our group so people wouldn't be unduly hurt on accident. 

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I'm not at the moment inclined to get rid of the social groups, FWIW. Enjoying reading the different perspectives, though.

 

SWB

 

 

Just FTR, I was suggesting only that the social groups not be private.  But I realize I may well be in the minority.

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After reading the thread about Wendy leaving here is my suggestion.

 

Private, closed, secret, social groups should be done away with. It just breeds disharmony and suspicion.

 

When social groups were first introduced I thought it was for things like weight loss support, running groups....groups that focused on one topic and therefore others not interested would not have to wade through those posts on the chat forum. If the secret and closed and private options were done away with people might stop posting highly sensitive, inflammatory, controversial etc content in them.

 

I remember when one of my posts was quoted and put in a secret group...I got a notification on it but couldn't click on the post or thread where it went...except I could see the group name. It was unsettling.

 

So that is my suggestion. No more secret social groups and all rules still apply to the groups and they can and will be moderated.

 

 

Well we can disagree on this. I don't see why the secrecy. If it is that secret and private take it to pms or a board fully dedicated to such privacy.

 

And I was more than curious when when of my quotes was taken and used on a secret board. Unsettled. I began feeling uneasy about the person who quoted me ....I just don't think it is a good atmosphere.

 

 

I decided to make one of our social groups private initially because our topic is a sensitive issue for many. It's one that many feel conflicted about and sometimes, frankly, alone and judged in real life. The hidden nature of our social group is not to talk behind the backs of anyone, it is to provide a level of comfort for members as they navigate their questions. 

 

These conversations could not be done via PM as often different members comment on different topics, much like any other board. They are general questions that require a small more like-minded group for general responses. It's very much like group therapy in the fact that there is an assumption that what is said in the group stays in the group. 

 

It has been beneficial to me and others to have a safe behind-doors place to ask and work through these issues. I did reiterate to that group that even though they are "hidden" - technical term for the private groups - that one should assume simply because it's the Internet that the possibility exists for these conversations to NOT be hidden on a permanent basis. 

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While of course nothing is 100% secret on the internet, if you wanted feedback on your kids' test scores where it wasn't Google-able for the future that might affect your children, you would have a safer place to ask in a private SG.  If you have diarrhea and don't necessarily want your Aunt Jane to bring it up on Thanksgiving but need some advice, a SG is safe for you. If you have a conflict of your religious beliefs that you don't want to discuss with your pastor before you explore it, you can look to a SG for more private advice. If you don't want private SGs, then don't partake.  But many people use them. 

 

 

 

 

I spend next to no time thinking about the SGs...I only got to thinking about them because of all this drama over them.  And after reading the big long thread with Wendy's name in the thread title...it just seemed clear to me that the SGs are a big problem.  Even my thick skin limited incidents with them has not been positive. 

 

I am sure the SGs being secret do serve a good purpose for many here.  The question is does the good outweigh the negative.  SWB gets to decide that and from her post a few up from this it seems she is inclined to keep them. 

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I decided to make one of our social groups private initially because our topic is a sensitive issue for many. It's one that many feel conflicted about and sometimes, frankly, alone and judged in real life. The hidden nature of our social group is not to talk behind the backs of anyone, it is to provide a level of comfort for members as they navigate their questions. 

 

These conversations could not be done via PM as often different members comment on different topics, much like any other board. They are general questions that require a small more like-minded group for general responses. It's very much like group therapy in the fact that there is an assumption that what is said in the group stays in the group. 

 

It has been beneficial to me and others to have a safe behind-doors place to ask and work through these issues. I did reiterate to that group that even though they are "hidden" - technical term for the private groups - that one should assume simply because it's the Internet that the possibility exists for these conversations to NOT be hidden on a permanent basis. 

 

 

Sure I get the benefit.  I really do.  But I am sure you see the potential for the negative.

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I'm just having a hard time understanding why this is so upsetting to some people? Ask yourself if it will make any difference in your life whether you can read posts in social groups or not. The answer is no, it will not. 

 

I think it is understandable for people who have experience with snark groups, whose sole purpose is to take posts and posters and brutally rip them apart, to be a bit wary of seeing their post quoted somewhere where they can't see the context.

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Well, here's an interesting development...

 

This morning, while following up on another problem (which I think is now resolved, http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/523075-html-script-inf-virus-preventing-me-from-accessing-site/) John discovered that the Moderator ID has recently been accessed by an unauthorized user or site (IP address in a part of the country where we have no moderators!).

 

This has nothing to do with any moderating decisions or actions--it doesn't appear that the ID was actually used for those purposes--but we have changed the password.

 

However, it's clearly a vulnerability to have an ID shared by a number of people. And, given the discussion on this thread, I've decided to temporarily shut the shared Moderator ID down. While we think about how best to manage the moderating, I'll respond personally to reported posts. 

 

So I guess that means, be on good behavior. :-) More soon,

 

SWB

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I spend next to no time thinking about the SGs...I only got to thinking about them because of all this drama over them.  And after reading the big long thread with Wendy's name in the thread title...it just seemed clear to me that the SGs are a big problem.  Even my thick skin limited incidents with them has not been positive. 

 

I am sure the SGs being secret do serve a good purpose for many here.  The question is does the good outweigh the negative.  SWB gets to decide that and from her post a few up from this it seems she is inclined to keep them. 

 

I don't see a BIG problem, I see one or two problems, one which apparently has happened before, one which is seemingly being investigated. There are technical and people issues to deal with. 

 

 

Sure I get the benefit.  I really do.  But I am sure you see the potential for the negative.

 

The potential for some board members to not be privy to all conversations? That's what I see. 

 

Honestly, I think this is an issue in progress, much like a police investigation, I don't expect the affected parties and the authorities to comment on "an ongoing investigation". Questions are being asked, I'm sure much is going on behind the scenes, and if you have concerns about the privacy of social groups, don't post private information until some questions are answered. 

 

As far as I see the main issue is 1. are private social groups subject to moderation and 2. how are private social group threads showing up for the general viewers. I'm sad that people left and the privacy screen was broken, but the continued prodding for details and even all the emotion behind those leaving is not the crux of the issue. Simply waving a hand to do away with the private social groups does not answer those two questions. Once that is sorted out, then there can be discussion on the privacy of groups. This thread is not the resolution, this thread is the opinion and fact finding. 

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Well, here's an interesting development...

 

This morning, while following up on another problem (which I think is now resolved, http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/523075-html-script-inf-virus-preventing-me-from-accessing-site/) John discovered that the Moderator ID has recently been accessed by an unauthorized user or site (IP address in a part of the country where we have no moderators!).

 

This has nothing to do with any moderating decisions or actions--it doesn't appear that the ID was actually used for those purposes--but we have changed the password. And, given the discussion on this thread, I've decided to temporarily shut the shared Moderator ID down. While we think about how best to manage the moderating, I'll respond personally to reported posts. 

 

So I guess that means, be on good behavior. :-) More soon,

 

SWB

 

Have you confirmed that it wasn't a moderator using a VPN? We use a VPN that masks our location (because we're overseas and can't access everything we'd be able to access if we were in the US), and occasionally we have problems with one portal and have to switch to another. So whereas we'd been showing up as being in New York, suddenly we're in DC, or Miami, or wherever our new portal is hosted.

 

If a moderator started using a VPN (they are used in the US as well, for various reasons), then it may look like they were in an area where they really weren't. May be an easy first step to confirm with all your moderators that they haven't changed anything about how they log in to the internet.

 

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Have you confirmed that it wasn't a moderator using a VPN? We use a VPN that masks our location (because we're overseas and can't access everything we'd be able to access if we were in the US), and occasionally we have problems with one portal and have to switch to another. So whereas we'd been showing up as being in New York, suddenly we're in DC, or Miami, or wherever our new portal is hosted.

 

If a moderator started using a VPN (they are used in the US as well, for various reasons), then it may look like they were in an area where they really weren't. May be an easy first step to confirm with all your moderators that they haven't changed anything about how they log in to the internet.

 

Yeah, I did think about this first thing, but so far as I can tell that isn't the case.

 

Edited my above for clarity, btw.

 

SWB

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I tend to agree that secret, private, unmoderated social groups invite suspicion and disharmony.

 

I could see it if the topic was about a medical or psychological condition that affects education / homeschooling, but about personal preferences etc. I don't understand why SWB is obligated to provide a private, unmoderated forum for that.  Surely there are other places to take those conversations without taking anything away from the discussions about education, homeschooling, etc.

 

And by the way, I've been told that certain groups have discussed me in unflattering ways on groups / forums that I do not participate in.  I doubt I am the only one.  Yes, I am bigger than that, but again, why is SWB obligated to support that?  I personally do not feel it adds anything to any community to be able to freely deride or defame people who have no opportunity to provide their side.  Considering that one respected, prolific member here publicly stated on the Chat board that I don't like men (which was untrue and not kindly meant), I have sincere doubts that all the talk on the private groups is kind and mature.  None of my business, probably, but then again nobody is screaming at me for not providing good enough free web accommodations.

 

For every person complaining about not being able to freely post whatever they want on the private social groups, I'm sure there is another person who doesn't like being vulnerable to secret attacks in such groups.  And please don't say that does not happen because I don't believe it.

 

This.  The site is maintained, free to users by a commercial entity that is under no obligation to provide a free forum to any and all causes that wish to have one.   I find it highly naive to think that owners and authorized monitors of a commerical entity wouldn't be observing what it taking place.  It may come as a surprise that posts were actively deleted, but I would never assume the owner or the owner's agents could not access any post made on a board they own.  IMO, it would be legally irresponsible for the owners not to know what was being said on their own site. 

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This.  The site is maintained, free to users by a commercial entity that is under no obligation to provide a free forum to any and all causes that wish to have one.   I find it highly naive to think that owners and authorized monitors of a commerical entity wouldn't be observing what it taking place.  It may come as a surprise that posts were actively deleted, but I would never assume the owner or the owner's agents could not access any post made on a board they own.  IMO, it would be legally irresponsible for the owners not to know what was being said on their own site. 

This actually is true, FWIW. Does anyone remember the Russian mob denial of service on this site in 2013? We had to remove posts, some of which were private as I recall, so they'd get off our back.

 

Now THAT was genuinely bizarre.

 

SWB

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After reading the thread about Wendy leaving here is my suggestion.

 

Private, closed, secret, social groups should be done away with. It just breeds disharmony and suspicion.

 

When social groups were first introduced I thought it was for things like weight loss support, running groups....groups that focused on one topic and therefore others not interested would not have to wade through those posts on the chat forum. If the secret and closed and private options were done away with people might stop posting highly sensitive, inflammatory, controversial etc content in them.

 

I remember when one of my posts was quoted and put in a secret group...I got a notification on it but couldn't click on the post or thread where it went...except I could see the group name. It was unsettling.

 

So that is my suggestion. No more secret social groups and all rules still apply to the groups and they can and will be moderated.

 

I agree, Scarlett, and I remember when that happened with your post.  In theory, I like the idea of private SGs.  In reality, though, there are a few that have become a haven for snarkiness and bashing that would never be permitted on the public boards.  (We all know that your post was not copied because people were saying kind thing about it.)

 

Many of those posters make no secret of membership publicly. They are the ones who comment endlessly on threads, beating anyone down who does not agree with them.  It's unfortunate on the public boards, but the private boards give an open invitation to that kind of garbage.  That's clearly not in the spirit of WTM as a whole, and perhaps it's time for SGs to find another online meeting outlet.  There have always been tweaks and changes for the good for the WTM community, and it's time for this one.

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I agree, Scarlett, and I remember when that happened with your post.  In theory, I like the idea of private SGs.  In reality, though, there are a few that have become a haven for snarkiness and bashing that would never be permitted on the public boards.  (We all know that your post was not copied because people were saying kind thing about it.)

 

Many of those posters make no secret of membership publicly. They are the ones who comment endlessly on threads, beating anyone down who does not agree with them.  It's unfortunate on the public boards, but the private boards give an open invitation to that kind of garbage.  That's clearly not in the spirit of WTM as a whole, and perhaps it's time for SGs to find another online meeting outlet.  There have always been tweaks and changes for the good for the WTM community, and it's time for this one.

Why must we now attack board members? Plus people can go anywhere for that sort of thing.  From what I recall the Super Secret WTM FB group has had what some people considered drama issues.  That's been since well before this.  But it also doesn't really have anything to do with moderation.

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For the record, I am not against private groups (in the sense of not being viewable to all), but I don't like the idea of them being unmoderated. 

 

At this point I have heard different info from different sources regarding whether or not the rules provide for moderation of private social groups.  Am I reading it wrong?  PPs are complaining that moderating was against the rules, but it actually is not against the rules?

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For the record, I am not against private groups (in the sense of not being viewable to all), but I don't like the idea of them being unmoderated. 

 

At this point I have heard different info from different sources regarding whether or not the rules provide for moderation of private social groups.  Am I reading it wrong?  PPs are complaining that moderating was against the rules, but it actually is not against the rules?

I actually don't think we've ever stated it one way or the other. Certainly not intentionally...

 

Back to my point about SG guidelines.

 

SWB

 

P.S. I think the private SG question has been aired, and we'll think about the issues raised...can we not let this thread degenerate into the discussion of whether or not certain groups have behaved well? SKL, that's not directed at you, it's just a general request.

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Was that my by chance? When I am on a computer i have several open tabs and I multiquote different postersand sometimes I forget that I have a multi quote open in one window when I reply in another and accidentally Quote the wrong person. This happens more than I care to admit do to limited time at a computer.

Not an accident.  Big to-do over it some time ago.

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In my opinion, if you are on someone's turf, they have a right to watch and moderate the behavior on their home ground. It is hard to imagine myself as the "owner" of my own Social Group and then resenting the moderator acting upon posts inside my little piece of board-world. SWB is responsible for the WTM website. So, she is obligated to keep an eye on it - even the private social groups. There are issues like legality, prevention of online bullying etc which SWB needs to address because it is her name that is linked to this board.

 

FYI, Google mail and Yahoo mail have filters that automatically flag content that are deemed illegal or inappropriate and they are sent to dedicated personnel who review and forward such things to the authorities (to the FBI in the case of crimes like pedophilia, money laundering, terrorism), to the local police etc. I work in IT in the security field and hence am very aware of how the process works. There is oversight everywhere even on Yahoo and Gmail. That is the nature of the beast.

 

So, why are people expecting complete privacy (even from moderators) in their Social Groups on WTM? And why are people posting very personal information and then feeling offended by a breach that exposed their info? Any web server can and will be hacked - there are people who do hacking as a challenge or fun endeavor. There are hacking competitions with returning grand champions. They write viruses whose job is to endlessly try all combinations and permutations of attacks to see if anything opens up a hole or backdoor in servers to expose information on the internet.

 

My points are - SWB is not obligated to provide a "completely" secret private area on WTM. Since she is associated with this board and WTM is her brand, she should decide on how much privacy is allowed for social groups. 

Personally, I am not interested in social groups. I am OK if private social groups are removed. There are places like Facebook where people can congregate for private socializing on the internet as far as I am concerned.

 

Finally, SWB, thanks for your generosity in providing this forum. I am one of those parents who thought I had it all figured out until I read the WTM and hopped on to the education forums. I have changed my opinions on how to educate my child due to all the inputs I have received here. 

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